THE GOOD NEWS for the Phillies: A.J. Burnett will make his start as scheduled tomorrow against the Atlanta Braves. The bad news for Burnett: He'll need surgery at some point to correct an inguinal hernia.
Burnett and the Phillies hope surgery won't have to take place until after the season. Burnett, who had a cortisone injection yesterday after getting hurt Friday, will have to spend the next 5 1/2 months managing the pain.
"You don't want anything to happen, but it's something that I think is manageable," Burnett said. "Manageable in that I'm going to have to deal with it . . . Paying attention to it, knowing it's there, knowing what I can do to overdo it and knowing what I can do to keep it where it needs to be. I'm more of a go-getter, and I'm not really a take-it-easy kind of guy, so it's going to be a test."
It remains to be seen whether Burnett can pitch what amounts to the duration of a big-league season with a hernia. Burnett spoke with a couple of players who have had hernias midseason and were able to deal with it through pain management.
"A couple of [them] could [deal] with it, a couple couldn't," Burnett said. "It seemed like the guys that couldn't, it was just because it was there and constantly bothering them and affecting them out there. I threw [Sunday] and it was night and day better. It actually helped me stay within myself. That might be a blessing in disguise, you know?"
One player who was able to deal with pitching with an inguinal hernia is on the Phillies' pitching staff: Cole Hamels pitched with the injury in 2011. Hamels went 14-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 32 games that season, making the All-Star team and finishing fifth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.
But Hamels was also 27 in 2011, while Burnett is pitching at age 37. Burnett was asked whether he's confident he could get through 25 to 30 starts from tomorrow until the end of September with the ailment.
"I am - I'm confident every day," Burnett said. "I've pitched with worse. I don't come out of games a lot. The other night was more of an uncertainty, because I didn't know where it was coming from. I didn't know if it was hip, groin, whether I tweaked something or pulled something . . . Now that I know upstairs what I'm dealing with, I can deal with it a lot better."
Burnett exited Friday night, his third start of the season, with one out in the fifth inning. He was charged with two runs on five hits and six walks in an eventual 6-3 win over the Miami Marlins.
Burnett signed a 1-year, $16 million contract with the Phillies as a free agent in February. He is 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in three starts, allowing 17 hits and 14 walks, while striking out 10, in 16 innings.
"It could be a blessing in disguise and I pay attention more to my delivery," he said. "The two pitches I felt it in my bullpen [Sunday] is when my timing was a tick off. I flew open early or something was off. But when I nailed my delivery in the next 15, it was fine. I'm not worried about it now that today happened. I talked to the doctors and had my questions answered."
Adams to be activated
Mike Adams will be activated off the disabled list before tonight's game with the Braves.
Adams had shoulder surgery on July 31. But he hasn't pitched in a big-league game in almost 10 months.
Adams' last appearance came on June 19, 2013.
"It's going to be a good feeling, I know that," Adams said.
Adams made his final rehab appearance on Saturday at Triple A Lehigh Valley. He allowed a run on two hits; he also struck out a batter.
"I didn't have my best stuff," Adams said, "but overall I got through it healthy and I felt all right."
Adams signed a 2-year, $12 million deal as a free agent before the 2013 season to be the Phillies' setup man in front of closer Jonathan Papelbon. He could be eased back into regular work initially, according to manager Ryne Sandberg.
"We'll use him smartly to start with," Sandberg said of Adams, who pitched on back-to-back days five times in 28 games last season. "We'll go from there and see how he rebounds. See how he looks, see how he pitches, see how he looks the next day."
Torre fesses up
Joe Torre called Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. on Sunday night and essentially said his people screwed up.
Torre, who works in the baseball operations department for Major League Baseball, said the umpires' replay review of Sunday's sixth-inning play at the plate was incorrectly upheld. After Tony Gwynn Jr. was thrown at home plate, Sandberg took the field in protest, since he thought Miami catcher Jeff Mathis was blocking the plate without the ball.
The umpires, who called Gwynn out on the play, called up to the league offices for a replay review and the call stood. But it turns out Sandberg was right.
"It's early in the process, it's early in the system," Sandberg said. "Possibly, it's a play that's reviewed and showed, they can learn from it. In the rule, it clearly says the catcher has to give a lane to the baserunner . . . So, I think they'll learn from that one."
Major League Baseball implemented new home-plate rules this winter to take home-plate collisions out of the game.
Gwynn starts again
Tony Gwynn Jr. made his fourth straight start in centerfield. Sandberg said Ben Revere, who had sore ribs over the weekend, was healthy to play, but he decided to stick with the same lineup to "keep the momentum going."
The Phillies won each of the first three games Gwynn started in center.